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18th AF commander, command chief visits Showcase Wing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaac Olivera
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. –  “If you hear nothing else from me today, please hear this: Thank you! Thank you for your service and what you do for our nation!”

Those words were shared to a small group of in-person 375th Air Mobility Airmen during an all call from Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, Jr., 18th Air Force commander, and echoed by Chief Master Sgt. Chad W. Bickley, his Command Chief. They were here Jan. 28-29 to see first-hand how the Showcase Wing “Executes Rapid Global Mobility.”

 “We’ve been blown away by what we’ve seen,” said Bickley.
Bibb added, “This is what it’s like to be on a championship team!”
They both shared messages of staying balanced, keeping an eye on “our Wingmen,” keeping high standards, and “accelerating change” as the Air Force has outlined.  In addition, they spoke about decentralized decision-making paired with risk management to keep the focus on a squadron’s high performance.

 “Our squadrons are absolutely our most valuable assets, and we need to do everything we can to ensure a unit’s success,” said Bibb. “To do that we need to stay connected, resilient and be inspired by a bigger cause than ourselves—like delivering hope to a world in need.”

The visit, led by Col. J. Scot Heathman, 375th AMW commander and Command Chief Chuck Frizzell, highlighted the wing’s accomplishments during the past few years.

After a wing mission overview, the group traveled to the air traffic control tower and got a look at the innovative ATC simulator, and discussed its support for three Total Force flying wings and interaction with Mid-America Airport.

Heathman led the team over to the C-21 Hangar and Field Training Unit, which was one of 19 buildings on base that suffered flood damage last August. They showcased the renovations and initiatives the unit took to keep the mission flying and pilots trained during this time, as well as the unit’s flying successes during the year.

Always a highlight, the aeromedical evacuation teams provided a walkthrough of their capabilities in the C-130 training fuselage, and spoke about how they maintain readiness and carry out their global mission.

The Det. 1, Combat Flight Inspection team located in Oklahoma provided a virtual briefing to discuss their mission and training overview, which was followed by a tour of the Elevate Innovation Lab to discuss how they “Accelerate Change or Lose” at the wing level. 

One area the wing commander wanted to highlight was the work provided by the medical group during the pandemic.

Col. Richard L. Woodruff Jr., 375th Medical Group commander, said, “The medical community has worked tirelessly saving lives, caring for families and working to provide hope to the community. We were excited to highlight all of the ‘Showcase’ medics who make trusted care a reality.”

These medics were part of the Emergency Operation Center that was set up for the base-wide COVID-19 response, while caring for a beneficiary population of 60,000.  They also expertly dispensed the first two COVID-19 vaccine shipments quickly and efficiently, as well as provided quality care via Mental Health’s Warrior Care Clinic. 

They kept the lab open during COVID, as well as set up the COVID testing area for Team Scott. Additionally the 375th MDG established a memorandum of agreement with Barnes Jewish Hospital for trauma skills training, and discussed the dental residency program and Total Force integration of their care teams as well.

Along with conducting several round-table discussions, the 18th AF leaders were provide a cyberspace operations capabilities overview, that highlighted the Air Force’s newest Software Factory, “Conjure,” and how data is secured for Team Scott’s 35 mission partners.

They also spent time discussing support for Airmen and their families to learn how about ongoing support for resiliency initiatives, diversity and inclusion, and trends in community support programs, and how the wing tested Air Mobility Command’s new virtual reality-based suicide prevention training.

Heathman ensured the leaders were well versed on how the wing promotes professional development of its Airmen, showed them the Warrior Training Site used for field training exercises and provided overviews on how security forces personnel respond and coordinate during emergencies.  Additionally, they toured the Logistics Readiness Squadron’s warehouse and vertical storage area, and aerial port coordination efforts during COVID.

Heathman said he couldn’t be more proud of his team for all the hard work that went into the visit, which was just small taste of what goes into making Scott AFB AMC’s Showcase Wing.

Bibb added, “Our visit has shown me why the 375th Air Mobility Wing is the Showcase Wing.  We need every Airman fit and ready for the fight … and there’s no doubt that this team is ready.”